On April 17, 2014, I wrote a post called Struggles with Conflict. That turned out to be the second most popular post I’ve written. After reflecting some more about the topic, I decided to share some techniques you might find helpful when you are faced with conflict.
When someone is very angry with you, if you start defending or explaining, you may make the situation worse by giving the person more ammunition to use against you. While the problem may need to be discussed in depth, a positive outcome is not likely when one or both parties are escalated. In those cases, consider using one of the techniques I list below. That may be all that is needed. If not, then you can always set a later time for a serious discussion.
1) Jean I Clarke, suggested we limit our responses during conflict to:
d) “I will think about it”
I generally add “I hear you” to her list
2) Elaine Childs Gowell, taught me the acronym DREJJ.
Many people live using DREJJ behaviors and have trouble even imagining stopping them. If this is an issue for you, consider making a No DREJJ contract! I believe you will find it is well worth the effort it takes you to change your habitual responses.
3) I once heard a story that was attributed to Buddha. According to the story, Buddha once came to a village where the people were very angry with him. He asked them what they were angry about and then listened to their responses. When they finished, he said “And what else are you angry about.” And so it went on. Every time they stopped, he would ask what else they were angry about, until they no longer could think of anything. He did not respond at all, he simply listened.
The next time someone is angry with you, try one of these techniques. Consider coming to back to this post afterwards, and sharing what happened!